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Transcript of interview with Louise Saunders: ABC 936 Hobart: 22 May 2015: discusses Tony Abbott's Cadbury Broken Promise; and the Mersey Hospital Agreement



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JULIE COLLINS MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT SERVICES LABOR MEMBER FOR FRANKLIN

E&OE TRANSCRIPT RADIO INTERVIEW 936 ABC HOBART DRIVE WITH LOUISE SAUNDERS FRIDAY, 22 MAY 2015

SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s Cadbury Broken Promise; Mersey Hospital Agreement.

LOUSIE SAUNDERS: The Federal Member for Franklin and Shadow Minister for Regional Development is Julie Collins, who joins me. Julie Collins good afternoon.

JULIE COLLINS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Good afternoon Louise.

SAUNDERS: Do you think the $16 million is a relevant part of what’s happened today?

COLLINS: Well I think it shows that this has been botched by the Government from the very beginning. They went to Cadbury’s prior to the last Federal Election, they were happy to have photographs and make this election commitment. Then afterwards we didn’t know where the money was coming from. Whether it was coming from Industry and Infrastructure or whether it was coming from Tourism. Then once it was coming from Tourism, we found out that now they can’t give the money because they’re not meeting the criteria. I think the bottom line here is that Tony Abbott made a commitment to workers at Cadbury’s of a $16 million investment that would create 200 new jobs and here we are today with this devastating news and it must be really difficult for those Cadbury workers and their families today.

SAUNDERS: Do you think when it comes to the money we may have had a lucky escape with our money, that perhaps we do still have it and didn’t give it to the company?

COLLINS: Well the question is Louise: do we still have it? The Federal Budget last week had it as a saving against the tourism budget. So the tourism budget was minus the $16 million from Cadbury and of course we’ve had the Prime Minister in the state this week and the Treasurer in the state last week and nobody can tell us where that money is. So the question would be: do we still have the money, where is it and what are they going to use it for?

SAUNDERS: Well I think the last time I asked the question directly of a Government MP it was Senator Abetz who said the money was certainly going to be allocated towards job creating projects but he declined to be specific as to where they might be and at what stage that might be allocated. Do you think it is now something that needs to be addressed?

COLLINS: I think it is critical for the state. If you look at last month’s unemployment figures that were out just a few weeks ago, Tasmania was the only state to go backwards. We’ve obviously still got the highest unemployment in the country. We clearly have no jobs plan for the state under this Federal Liberal Government. Clearly this money would have made a difference in Tasmania for jobs in Tasmania, so the questions for the Federal Government now are: where is the money, what Department has it been allocated to, what are we going to use it for and where are we going to use it to create jobs in our state.

SAUNDERS: Given that the PM is in the state and has been for around almost 24 hours - I’m not sure whether he’s still here - he certainly has been here, would it have been an opportunity, even with short notice to detail the spending of that $16 million?

COLLINS: It would have been good if the Prime Minister and/or the Treasurer could actually tell us where in the Budget the actual money is so that we can be confident that it is there given that we’ve had so many broken promises from the Prime Minister. We’ve had broken promises in relation to Cadbury’s; we’ve had them in relation to Hobart Airport; we’ve had them in relation to the Midland Highway; we’ve had them in relation to cuts to health and education. I just think Tasmanians aren’t going to trust him anymore so we need to know where it is.

SAUNDERS: Well there is a couple of other things, slightly outside your area, but the Mersey Hospital of course is one and I think the PM made a joke today in Devonport about having once owned a hospital, there’s a question over the ongoing funding for that, although he has announced funding for a rehab centre at the LGH. Are there questions, do you think, over federally funded or commitments to federal projects in Tasmania then, that are beyond this?

COLLINS: Absolutely and I think the people around the Mersey Hospital - the workers and the community relying on the services there - would be very concerned. I mean the Federal Government has had months and months to sort out this arrangement with the State Government. The question I would have for them is: what’s the hold up? We’ve had a Prime Minister and Treasurer here, again we’re told the money is in the Budget but again we’re not told where it is. I think Tasmanians have not got a lot to trust when it comes to the Prime Minister and a lot to be concerned about and I just don’t think we can trust them anymore and I don’t think Tasmanians trust them anymore.

SAUNDERS: Julie Collins, I’ll leave it there. Thanks for your time.

COLLINS: Thank you.

ENDS

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